New Delhi

Of the 143 candidates contesting in the first phase of Chhattisgarh assembly elections, 15 candidates have criminal cases registered against them.

The charges against six of them are serious; they include murder, kidnapping, criminal intimidation and crimes against women, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms.

Two of the 18 candidates fielded by the Congress have declared criminal cases against them while three of the 18 candidates from the Bharatiya Janata Party, two of the 18 candidates from the Bahujan Samaj Party and one out of five candidates from the Samajwadi Party have declared criminal cases in their affidavits.

Of the 143 contesting candidates, 25 are crorepatis, while the average asset of candidates is Rs 57.84 lakh.

The average asset per candidate for the Congress is Rs.1.75 crore, for BJP it is Rs 1.34 crore, for the BSP it is Rs 10.11 lakh and the average asset of Samajwadi Party candidates is Rs 9.42 lakh.

Chief Minister Raman Singh, who will contest from Rajnandgaon constituency, has declared the highest income of Rs 32.26 lakh, followed by fellow party leader Dinesh Gandhi of BJP from Dongargaon constituency, who has a total income of Rs 13.66 lakh and Jhadu Ram Nareti of the Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch from Kanker, with an income of Rs 13.14 lakh. (Most of the candidates have claimed that they are exempted from paying income tax).

Only 11 women are contesting in the first phase of the polls, three of them are from the Congress and two from the BJP.

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